Aberdeen Football Club partners with north-east gin firm House of Elrick to create a club spirit.
Players Niall McGinn and Funso Ojo took time off the pitch earlier this year to lend a hand in creating the football team’s own gin.
Creating bespoke bottles for the partnership, all 120 bottles of the first batch of gin made by House of Elrick have been snapped up by loyal fans.
Only available at the Aberdeen FC club shop, the launch of the gin was scheduled to take place in time for Father’s Day and the big Celtic match earlier in the year, however, plans were put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It was released last week, with Aberdeen legend Neil Simpson posting a picture of the never-seen-before bottle on Twitter.
Stuart Ingram, owner of House of Elrick, said the opportunity to get to create the club’s gin was “a truly memorable experience”.
He said: “Neil Simpson managed to get his hands on a bottle somehow and posted it on Twitter recently and I ended up contacting the club to find out if it was getting launched as I was getting emails asking where people could get it. Neil funnily enough used to work at my dad’s farm, so it is really him posting it on social media which spurred on launching the gin now.
“It was actually meant to be released for Father’s Day and the Celtic game but Covid-19 changed those plans.
“The first batch sold out and we’re running them in batches of 120 bottles. We’re now on batch two which is great. We’ll keep producing it to keep up with demand to ensure fans can get it.”
A former player with the Rob Roy Reds supporters team in London, Stuart reached out to the club in the hope of bringing the concept of the gin to life.
“I actually reached out to them as I used to play for the Rob Roy Reds supporters team in London and I sponsor the team with strips down there. As part of that, we used to get the guys down regularly. We had Rob Wicks and back in the day Russell Anderson used to come down, and we also used to get Ali Proctor. They would come down once a year and see us.
“Because I am connected with the club, I thought I’d reach out to Rob Wicks and presented him with a mock Aberdeen Football Club bottle and said, ‘Do you fancy coming to have a chat about a few ideas?’. It has all progressed from there.
“My designer designed it all and the waves crashing on the bottle pays tribute to the north-east coastline. I gave them a couple of options and had very much already drafted up everything. We went for the white and red to fit in with the AFC club colours.”
With some help from Niall McGinn and Funso Ojo, Stuart said it was great getting the players involved in the process and hopes to welcome the whole team back in the future.
He said: “We had the players at the distillery back in March. It has been on sale at Pittodrie Stadium for the past week or so. They are just selling it at the club shop though.
“The whole team were supposed to be coming along but there was stuff happening with the Celtic game and Covid-19, so Niall McGuinn and Funso Ojo came out and I took them through the whole process, showed them how to bottle and let them both have a shot at bottling the gin, too. They seemed to love it and seemed to have a good time.
“I got invited in to present limited edition bottles to the Granite City Club members and met Dave Cormack and Rob Wicks and spoke about the gin in front of everyone. I met Derek McInnes in the lead up to the launch and then we couldn’t do anything more because of Covid-19 kicking off.
“The bottles will also be going into the lounges and will also be for hospitality, too. But, that’s obviously not happening just now. I have a Cove Rangers gin which they just use for hospitality. The fans are absolutely loving the gin and I’ve been speaking to them about their sister club Atlanta, too, which is exciting.”
Using a similar recipe to his traditional House of Elrick gin, the AFC version boasts a slightly lower ABV and uses different quantities of the key botanicals, too.
“It is a twist on the original recipe. I have cut it to 40% ABV rather than 42% ABV and it is very similar. It uses the same botanicals but different quantity levels and really isn’t too far from the original gin,” said Stuart.
“It is only through the club shop that people can purchase it. Aberdeen wanted it exclusive to their club shop and it can only be picked up in-store. They’re retailing it for £32. They’ve had to move the club shop to the Teddy Scott Lounge which has access via the Richard Donald Stand reception just now, but should be back in the usual location towards the end of the month.”